During his devotional time my husband received some words of instruction for the season we are living in. One of the things was: study and live grace. The Bible is full of scriptures on grace, so that will keep us busy for a while :) We also ordered some books about grace (Philip Yancey, Joseph Prince etc.) which we will read and discuss together. We furthermore decided to read and re-read the chapter I wrote about grace in my newest release Grace of Giving. I thought it would be helpful and inspirational to share parts of that grace chapter on this blog. Although I wrote it specifically on the subject of giving, it contains many nuggets applicable to our life in general. I can only hope it will be an encouragement to you. So here we go:
The grace of giving
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (NIV)
It is one thing to leave the way of the thief behind and another thing to become a true giver; to follow in Jesus’s footsteps and give it all you’ve got. It is one thing to say, “I do not steal,” but another thing to say, “I am a giver.” How can giving become a desire of our hearts? How can giving become part of our new nature?
Let me ask you the following question: how can a sinner become righteous in God’s eyes? How can we, as human beings, share in God’s glory? One simple answer: grace. It is God’s grace that makes many things possible for mankind. Grace is a word that we don’t hear much outside the church, yet it is so powerful! Favor, mercy, or goodwill are more commonly used. The Penguin English Dictionary describes grace as follows: supernatural power given by God to the soul to enable it to attain virtue and salvation. Grace is another one of God’s gifts to us! Grace is God’s free favor on our lives; we did not do anything to deserve it. When we receive that gift, we can start using it to overcome difficult situations. The dictionary says it is a supernatural power. The Bible explains more extensively what grace is and what it can do in our lives.
Jesus, for example, had God’s grace on his life. Luke 2:40 (NIV) talks about Jesus’s childhood: And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Grace was upon him, that tells me grace is something extra, almost like a gift from God. God’s grace was upon Jesus when he was a child. While growing older, the grace of God was no longer just upon him, but it filled him! That tells me Jesus grew in grace; he became full of it! The opening chapter of John’s gospel contains the following statement in verse 14, The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us.
Now, God did not just reserve his grace for Jesus; he gave it also in abundance to the believers, starting off with the first disciples. Acts 4:33 (NIV) tells us that “much grace was upon them all” in the same way as it was in the beginning upon Jesus. However, the disciples grew in grace too. A couple of chapters later (Acts 6:8 NIV) the martyr Stephen for example is introduced as follows, Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Grace was not just upon him, but it filled him!
Grace is so much more than a simple gift or a blessing; it is a power. God’s grace does not stop at our salvation; we can continue to live in it and grow in it. Once we become conscious of his grace, his undeserved favor in our lives, we will find out that it will help us conquer and control many difficult situations. As human beings, we have a tendency to depend on our own strength, to fight our battles all alone. We don’t have to do that because God’s grace is there to sustain us. We need to learn to be aware of his grace in our life, which will save us a lot of trouble because it is not a one-time moment of truth, it is an ongoing experience in our lives!